Monday, 15 October 2018

transportation authority

For several weeks now with no intentions of looking back—even I hope when the weather turns a bit wintry since that’s an incentive in itself to not have to fret about icy roads—I’ve been riding the bus to and from work and foregoing the car altogether during the week. Granted, I realise that it ought to make me a bit self-conscious in mentioning this, sort of like on Absolutely Fabulous when Edina says to Patsy, “Yes, but Sweetie, I will not have my daughter thinking she’s so great because she can use public transport.”
And to Saffron, “Anybody can use public transport, Darling!” To which Saffron replies, “I know. That’s the point.” I wonder, however, why it took me so long to realise exactly how convenient it is with even the bear minimum of planning, discipline or pocket-change.
Intrigued by these campaigns to make buses and metro lines free and eliminate fares (we were not part of the trials) and have so far avoided going for less expensive ticketing alternatives to support a service that might be at the liminal reach for others, I wonder how many more passengers we might be able to recruit by offering the same sweep discounts—which are still very, very affordable considering the dividends that one is getting in return.
What do you think? One needs to be willing, I think, to make some outlays to rescue us from ourselves.  I don’t know that I’d have bothered with trying the bus out of a stubborn perception that happily never had the chance to bear out of inconvenience but if the routes and schedules didn’t suit, I guess the alternative to taking the car (which I can report is one the streets fully six to eight times fewer per week) would be less than optimal. I think that the element of synchronicity must be sold (buses need better PR agents since they are vehicles of change far more important than individual electric cars, though our fleet is electric as well) before we can talk about cheaper fares. These images are of upholstery patterns on buses that I’ve recently took.


mystery machine: a 1999 Scooby-Doo parody of “The Blair Witch Project” from Cartoon Network

the history league: jerseys for fantasy sports teams centred on momentous events, via Shadow Manor’s Art of Darkness

popular science: though presently mostly relegated to children’s literature, pop-up books were once the stuff of serious textbooks

feng shui: the opening of Kyoto’s first dispersed hotel promises visitors an authentic, immersive experience in the old capital

public service announcement: contemporary artists offers updates on the iconic vintage series from the Works Progress Administration, a New Deal organisation

siren song: the micronation of Užpis, an enclave in the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius


Sunday, 14 October 2018

embassy row

On learning that Ankara has announced its intentions to rename the street on which the new US embassy compound is being constructed Malcolm X Avenue (with the support of the civil rights activist’s family who President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan met with last month) after the figure whose reputation remains divisive—particularly I would suppose for those occupying the White House presently, I was reminded how back in February, the street address for the current US diplomatic mission to Turkey had been reflagged as “Olive Branch” after the code-name for one of its military forays into Syria to signal displeasure for what is seen as American meddling. There’s quiet a long history behind casting ambassadorial side-eye (starting at the link above) by forcing one’s ideological foils to accept deliveries at insulting or compromising addresses though the most unabashed proposals have yet to materialise. The new building is scheduled to open in 2020